The Downgrading Demise of Love

The Downgrading Demise of Love

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The Downgrading Demise of Love

“North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street.” (198).
Ignorance is a harmful state of mind, which gives a false sense of
happiness to those consumed by it. Ignorance does not allow one to
mature by experience of actual events. It shelters one’s perception of
actual events by giving illusions of hope. It allows the imagination
to instill more meaning into an incident, where there is none. In
“Araby,” James Joyce illustrates how the boy overcomes his oblivious
state through irony, epiphany, and symbolism.

An obvious example found in the story is the immense amount of irony
used throughout “Araby.” The boy has the idea that love is always
perfect and the love he holds for Mangan’s sister is perfect. In the
real world, however, he has an aunt and uncle that show what love
really is like. When his uncle arrives home late to take him to the
bazarre, his aunt begins to argue and demand that he give the boy some
money to go to the bazarre (989). The boy completely ignores this
glimpse at real life. The boy realizes how life is not perfect and
that love is full of compromises. He begins his trip to the bazarre
and is excited on the train to arrive at this electrifying event. His
idea of the bazarre is that it will be a wonderful place that will
make Mangan’s sister fall in love with him. However, when he arrives,
he witnesses a dark, dismal place with a grim surrounding (990).
Through all the irony in his life, he realizes that he is that
opposite of what he is trying to be.

Perhaps one of the greatest credentials, which illustrate how the boy
is oblivious to the world, is that he realizes his ignorance. All
throughout the story, there are innuendoes that he is “missing
something.” Some of these hints range from the symbolic blind houses
to his own mental absence at the gathering before he finally gets to
go to the fair. His proceeding into the dark, half-closed fair, rather
than face the truth that he missed it initially, shows he simply “does
not get it.” Then, however, his realization occurs. In a moment of
epiphany, the boy is enlightened to how he has missed even the most
obvious fact. On his determination to have his life, as he wants it,
he does not realize until the epiphany that Mangan’s sister never
likes him. The boy becomes conscious to the fact that he has missed
his opportunity from the start. The boy sees for himself that he has

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been ignoring reality so much that he has become disillusioned.

James Joyce uses symbolism throughout “Araby,” to show the
disillusioned boy and his inexpressible feelings of romance. The
description of the neighborhood and homes being blind and quiet
initially leads one to believe that the feeling the boy has for
Mangan’s sister may be that of only a young boy’s infatuation. A
feeling of emotion felt by the young boy and not reciprocated by
Mangan’s sister. When the young boy states, “I imagined that I bore my
chalice safely through a throng of foes.” (987), the young boy
symbolizes a knightly and valiant figure. He is expressed as one who
rescues his damsel in distress from the dark and troubled area. Still,
at this point in the story, the young boy is skeptical whether or not
he will ever speak to her. Finally, Joyce uses the dark room in which
the priests die to symbolize hope. The initial conversation he holds
with Mangan’s sister expresses that there may be a slight amount of
hope for a future relationship. The young boy is strayed in confusion
with the process of an adolescent relationship.
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